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Africa

Star Wars sandcrawler set at Chott Al Jerrid, Tunisia, 1976. Courtesy of Lucas Film Ltd.

Soundstage Tunisia

The future of Tunisia’s film industry—like that of the country itself—is uncertain. Filmmakers prefer stability in their working conditions, and the instability triggered by the revolution has threatened a once reliable industry, which over a generation has evolved its own cultural significance.

Art by Anna Schuleit Haber

Yams

Just then they were all eating yams, candied and still hot from the stove. Golden-brown pieces glistening with sauce that dripped from the serving spoon as it moved between the bowl and the plates. Heavy sweet pieces that clung to their forks, sank and settled on their tongues and then dissolved in a swirl of rich textures.

The girl’s uncle Todd pushed back his chair and reached for the bowl and a second helping. His broad hands pressed across the table, past his water glass and the ladle of gravy, the tea lights and decorative poinsettia, up and over the enormous ham. 

“Why can’t you just ask?” 

Photographs by Tim Gruber

Marlon James’s Notes to Self

One big expectation of the murder mystery is that the payoff includes some answers, that eventually we learn the truth. The best payoffs are layered, too, so that the revelations include not just who did the deed but how and why—what the motive was, offering a bit of insight into our own natures.

A traditional three-stone fire—such as this one in Lalibela, Ethiopia—transfers as little as 10 percent of the heat it produces to a cooking pot.

Three-Stone Fire

The three-​stone fire remains nearly universal among the 3 billion people who rely on solid biomass fuels like firewood, charcoal, and dung. But the three-​stone fire is hellishly inefficient, transferring as little as 10 percent of the heat it produces to a pot and the food it holds. 

The Gambia River begins as a mere trickle in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea. Seven hundred miles later, it forms a channel eight miles wide.

Life on the River Gambia

From under a rock in the highlands of Guinea, the Gambia emerges as one of the last untamed great rivers of Africa, winding through three countries on its way to the sea.

My First Coup d’Etat

The author in his youth. (Courtesy of the author from Mahama Family Albums) The world maps of my youth were always flat. They depicted an Earth that was stretched and distorted, with no topography, no shaded relief. The only markings were the names [...]

Photo by Marcus Bleasdale

Return

They told you that their enemies surrounded
the women, the countless rapes fifteen miles
from the border, even on the outskirts around

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